Tag Archives: Ted Kennedy

A Democrat’s take on the 2012 GOP Presidential Field

 

Last week, the FOX network continued its push to replace President Obama with its first official piece of business, the first FOX Republican Presidential candidate debate.  While many of the top contenders decided not to attend, five middle and lower tier candidates showed up and excited national Republican political junkies.

Despite the low candidate turnout, and the absence of the most controversial candidates, this particular debate was a bit controversial.  Not just controversial in that 4 of the 5 candidates in attendance said they would support torture as a President… (pause for shake of head)… but it was controversial in that the Associated Press and Reuters chose not to attend because of restrictions placed by the FOX Network on other news gathering organizations.  I guess it just proves that Sirius/XM was correct in their recent reclassification moving FOX “News” from the News station category to the Political station category.

Anyway, it was the first event of the 2012 presidential race.  We will have a better picture of what to expect as we approach the summer and fall. There should be candidates beating down the door to take on President Obama the way Republicans talk about how bad a President he is. I think the reality is that potential candidates realize it would have been really hard to beat Barack Obama even before the recent political events.

Here is my uneducated take on the field of Obama’s potential challengers.

The Serious Presidential Challengers:
Mitt Romney
Former Governor of Massachusetts, dogged within the party for RomneyCare and past “liberal” stances. Most recent polls have him closely behind poll leader Mike Huckabee, second, just like he was to John McCain.  Romney lost to Ted Kennedy in a Senate race not long ago.  In that race Senator Kennedy joked that Romeny flipped and flopped so much that if the election lasted long enough, Mitt would vote for Kennedy instead of himself. Ted Kennedy also joked saying “I am pro choice, Mitt is multiple choice.” I think that flip-flop aspect of his history will keep him in second, regardless of who wins the nomination.  But, if he gets the nomination, he might have a better chance of winning than a lot of these candidates.

Jeb Bush
I included Jeb Bush in the serious challenger list, but not Mike Huckabee, go figure.  Huckabee is obviously a serious contender, I’m just unsure he will run.  I think Jeb will run.  He is obviously hurt by Bush 43 as well as Bush 41, by 43’s policies and result, and 41 along with 43 by the monarchal aspect of a third Bush as a President.  Those are the only reasons he wouldn’t run, but if he jumps in, especially at the last minute into a crowd of dull, lifeless contenders, he immediately becomes a star.  I don’t think he can win the presidency because of 41 and 43, but he could easily get the nomination. 

The Dark Horses:
Paul Ryan
Like Bush, he isn’t necessarily an expected candidate, but neither was Barack Obama.  He is a Midwesterner liked by Tea Party and Republicans, and he has already established a fiscal campaign against Obama. He is technically a dark horse because he isn’t a candidate yet. If he jumped in, I think he would move to the serious challenger level and be labeled by some the second coming of Ronald Reagan (which would be completely inaccurate, don’t get me started.)

Tim Pawlenty
He seemed to be the winner in the recent FOX Network debate according to other’s accounts.  He could win by default because he is non-controversial nationally, yes, he did raise his hand in support of torture.  Of course, how he left the State of Minnesota could really hurt him in a national debate.  But if Mike Huckabee stays out of the race, and he wins Iowa.  He could run away with the nomination a la Bill Clinton. 

Mitch Daniels
Ditto on Tim Pawlenty, but he actually did the things Pawlenty didn’t, like solving a state budget deficit. He also is seen as a little more independent that would appeal to moderates with his decision to avoid controversial social wedge issues, which is a negative to hard core Republicans.  Maybe a good national pick, but might have a hard time getting the Republican nomination.

Michelle Bachmann
I know she got a zero in a recent Iowa poll, but ths is a very shrewd and hard working politician. I consider her a dark horse, not because I think she can win, but because she can get some serious attention and raise a lot of money.  The problem is she has a really good thing going where she is right now, so I question whether she would want to leave the House, especially if her district borders remain unchanged as they appear to be in the first redistricting attempt. On the other hand, if she does enter the race and doesn’t win the nomination, she is poised to fully concentrate on taking on Sen. Al Franken in 2014.  That makes me think she might not mind getting in.

The Not So Likely:
Newt Gingrich
He announced he is in today.  He is a fundraising powerhouse and he WAS a political powerhouse. I think the “was” aspect is weighing on his ego.  He can make a run, and if he loses, but does well, he gets the extra attention to sell books and continues to get calls from the FOX network to be an analyst.  If he happens to win, even better for Newt.

Herman Cain
Herman Cain was the fan favorite at the FOX Network debate, and to his credit, he was the only candidate who said he would not support torture.  He doesn’t have much of a chance.

Sarah Palin
Fierce loyalty among fans, but doesn’t seem to the have the skills or desire to seriously compete for the GOP nomination, let alone the Presidency. Plus, a bad loss would seriously diminish her ability to be taken seriously on the FOX network…

Ron Paul
Might have a better chance to win the presidency than some of these guys, but he can’t win the GOP nomination.  Plus, there is his son…

The Jokes:
Donald Trump
He was a registered Democrat, vied to run as the Reform Party candidate for president, toyed with running for New York Governor, and now is threatening to toss his hair in the ring this year for President. It is all a publicity stunt to increase his wealth. After all, is the country really going to elect a man who started life with $400 million that his father left him and has been bankrupt 3 times since, divorced twice, had an affair, and thinks he has the right to judge other’s moral and financial decisions?  Recent polls have put him in his place, close to last.

Rick Santorum
Just Google Rick Santorum quotes. No change. Nothing more to say.

Sarah Palin
Could be included here too.

The could haves, but have better things to do:
Mike Huckabee
He has a good gig going. If he gets in he is a “challenger” but I’ve read that he isn’t necessarily interested.  He leads in the current polls, and he might be the only current potential candidate (not including Bush or Ryan) at the top of the list who could unite the Republican base and challenge Obama. 

Haley Barbour
Already out. He is old and wants to spend the rest of his life enjoying it.  The funny thing is that I read he might be Mike Huckabee’s running mate if he runs.  His exit from the race adds to my feeling that Huckabee is out too.

Overall, at this point in the race it seems like a pretty weak pack. If I were betting, and Huckabee stays out, I would put my money on Pawlenty.  But if Bush or Ryan get in, Pawlenty is toast.  They are probably all toast if Huckabee gets in.

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Political Pin Collecting and Don Fraser

I began collecting pins when I was a little kid.  At some point during my teen years I decided to dispose of most of the collection, but I kept all the political buttons.  Many of the political buttons where my mother’s pins that she gave me from her teens and early 20s, Kennedy, Humphrey, McCarthy, McGovern, Nixon and Carter.  From my teens through  today, I continue collecting political pins, amassing a collection that includes every president and most major candidates from Hoover to Obama. 

But just like my interest in politics, my favorite pins are pins for local state and city candidates. Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale senate pins, various governor pins, Joan Growe, Paul Wellstone, George Latimer, Mark Dayton, Tony Bouza, I could go on.

And it is not just because they are local that I like them, it is because I have a personal story that goes along with a lot of those pins.  I have more Barry Goldwater and George McGovern pins than any other candidate except for Hubert Humphrey, but none of them are mine.  It is a pin like the Mark Dayton pin handed to me by Mark Dayton at the 1982 Sherburne County Fair Parade that is special.  As he was walking by I told him my mom was going to vote for him, and he stopped and shook my hand.  The pins of candidates that I have a connection with are what I like.

My earliest political memory is a vague recollection of the attempted assassination of President Ford, but more detailed early memories are of Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, Don Fraser, and Ted Kennedy.  Don Fraser is in the middle of a pretty important group.  I began thinking about the former politician again when he endorsed Paul Thissen for Governor a couple weeks ago.  I thought for a moment and realized I didn’t think I had any political buttons of Don Fraser’s.  I brought the large box full of buttons upstairs and verified that there was nothing.

Not only do I have nothing when it comes to pins, I had a hard time finding very much information about Don Fraser on the web.  There are a few recent news stories, and a recent youtube video interview with him, but he retired just before the internet boom.  The Minnesota Historical Society has a few things, as does the Hennepin County Historical Society, but there does not seem to be a ton of documents out there. 

Yesterday I did two things.  First I contacted a political memorabilia collector who specializes in local Minnesota pieces asking if he had anything affordable regarding Fraser’s runs for Congress, his run for Senate or his runs for mayor.  Second, I began reading Arvonne Fraser’s book She’s No Lady, the memoir of her life.  Don Fraser is Arvonne Fraser’s husband.

Maybe I can glean a few things from her book and maybe do a little research on my own to publish a little something here on MNDem that reflects the memories that place him among the early important political figures in my life. If nothing else, when another person is looking for a little interesting information about Don Fraser on the web, maybe there will be something there.  Check back.

America is a country for all the people, not just the powerful.

I don’t remember where I heard the United States is a great country for the top 10% of the population. The problem is this is the United States! It should be a great country for the bottom 10% too.

Ted Kennedy was in the top 10%, but he advocated for the bottom 10%. We need a lot more people working to make an America that works for all the people, not just the powerful.